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Black Wallstreet Grand Rapids announces partner in $100M capital campaign

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Black Wallstreet Grand Rapids has chosen to partner with the Aqume Foundation, a nonprofit focused on financial planning and investing in communities of color. The decision comes on the 101-year anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre.

Black Wallstreet Grand Rapids publicly announced the Aqume Foundation as its 501c3 fiduciary partner on Wednesday, kicking off its $100 million capital campaign aimed at growing Black business on the city’s southeast side.

The timing of this decision is no coincidence. This week marked the 101-year anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, which burned down decades of Black success in Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Greenwood district, home to the very first Black Wall Street.

“We need to seize the moment and utilize this time and space and opportunity to reincarnate our ancestors on Black Wallstreet and turn it into Black excellence,” Preson Sain, Co-Founder and President of Black Wallstreet Grand Rapids said.

Sain has been working to cultivate space and resources for Black business success on the city’s southeast side for the past few years. He told WGVU, he wanted to secure a nonprofit partnership for the start-up to work under, as a subsidiary program.

“There’s a lot of positive attributes that comes with that. Not only do you get partnership and teamwork, you get increased social network and social capital. You get the structure. You get the back office support,” he explained.

After a competitive selection process, the group chose to work with the Aqume Foundation, a Black-led philanthropic group focused on estate planning and financial investing in communities of color.

“It’s the first black-founded, black-led foundation in Grand Rapids,” Sain said, adding that the Aqume Foundation’s mission strongly resembles that of Black Wallstreet Grand Rapids.

With the capital campaign now underway, Sain says his earliest moves will be to re-envision Black Wallstreet Grand Rapids’ flagship district on Burton Street and Eastern Avenue. He hopes to reconstruct eight districts total, over the estimated span of 16 years. Sain said the timeline mirrors the rise of the original Black Wall Street, adding the alternative to gentrification in these areas is Black excellence.

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